Friday, March 27, 2009

Man down, but ok.

If someone asked me to make a macabre bet as to which team rider would suffer an accident first this year, my money would NOT be on Cory Burns. After all, he's the only one of us who doesn't ride every day on the lovely New England roads, surrounded by the well-tempered Boston drivers. He's from Watertown, New York. (Brownie points to anyone who can tell me where that is without consulting a map.) Being from upstate NY myself I can tell you that while the redneck driver factor is relatively high, this is more than balanced out by the lack of traffic and the wide-open roads.

Despite this, Cory had a bit of a run-in with a van last week while out training on his TT bike. He's going to be ok - nothing broken on his body. His beautiful Cannondale Slice TT bike is, well, not so ok. Take it out back and shoot it, Cory. Don't let it suffer anymore.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Volume 3 Release Pictures

Thanks to all who came out to the unveiling of Embrocation Volume 3 last night. We appreciate your support more than we can express and hope a good time was had by all.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Ride/Food Report

Good showing from the Embrocation team riders this weekend both on and off the race course. In sitting down to write this, however I realize that it's going to be less about the riding that we do and more about the food we eat at various points in said ride.

Saturday was our now-traditional weekend morning ride from Cafe Fixe in Washington Square, Brookline. I'm not sure exactly how this ride came about but I do believe it was Dave Chiu of the NEBC team who turned us on to Cafe Fixe as a place to start our weekend sojourns.

Cafe Fixe owner, Max, has been very good to us and allows us to scuff up his nice hardwood floors with our cleats. He even takes an interest in our rides, teams etc.

His welcoming attitude to cyclists aside, he also offers some tremedously delicious coffee beverages and baked goods to get us sugared up before we hit the road.

We had a fairly large contingent joining us on this particular Saturday - 13 riders in total started with us heading west toward the Framingham area. We had riders from Embrocation, NEBC, Cambridge, MetLife and Kenda/Spooky joining us. This was the scene outside Fixe just before go time:

Like I said, good showing.

The route was out west, through Weston, Wayland and north of Framingham then south, across Rt.9 to Holliston. From there, we took the long way to Dover for another lunch stop. The ride had been hard-paced so food was a necessity by this point.

85ish miles, at 18+ mph average. Not the longest ride of the year, but the fastest average helped in large part by a tail-wind on our way out and some serious pace-lining on the way back in.

Sunday - Wells Ave. Jay, Gustavo, me. Good showing as we raced aggressively, went on the attack a bunch (Jay), pulled back several dangerous breaks (me) and sat in the back until the end (Gus). I was able to slot in behind Mark McCormack for the final sprint, which helped me take 5th or 6th. Jay blew himself up trying to get away with 2 to go, a bold move that has worked for him before.

After the race, out to Dover for an easy hour warm-down ride and, of course, food.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Team Updates

It's been a few days since my last post. There have been some developments since then.

First, we got in our first real team ride. Actually it was basically the same as every other Saturday ride has been over the last couple months except that we had all of the local Embrocation guys on the ride, including Pete Smith who made the trip down from the north shore.

It wasn't just us, of course. We had a few of the usual suspects from the local scene, including a couple Cambridge Bicycle guys who are always good company. All in all, a good day with good company, and more than a couple stops for baked goods.

Next, we have a couple new additions to the team worthy of mention:

First, we have Cory Burns who joins us from the former Fiordafruitta team. Cory sent me an email inquiring about the team about a month ago and I jumped right on the opportunity to pick him up. I had the pleasure (actually it was painful) of racing with (against) Cory in last summer's Empire State games, when I was still an official resident of that state. You could say he put in a solid performance when he won the ITT, lapped the field in the points race and pulled his team to a silver medal in the team time trial. He's fast and even though he'll be the odd man out not being a Boston local, I couldn't turn him down. Hopefully we'll see more of this from Cory this year (although in more fashionable duds - seriously man who takes top step of the podium in jeans?):

After a lengthy, and at times bitter contract negotiation, we've signed Pierre Vanden Borre. PVB comes with a hefty price tag but his skills in the Cat 3 field will prove invaluable. A distance specialist, PVB is also a member of the non-racing but arguably more illustrious Rapha Continental Team. These are a bunch of dudes wearing expensive clothes, doing stupidly long rides all for the benefit of the Rapha photographers and videographers following them around. In actual fact, I'm jealous and admit it's pretty cool and the stuff they come up with is great:

Lastly, I wanted to draw attention to the team's website: This is pretty raw right now, but we'll be adding quite a bit of content when the season really kicks into high gear. Stay tuned.

There is one change to the website worth mentioning. I recently changed Jay Combs' web profile picture. It seems Mama Combs had some misgivings about Jay's previous picture. Personally, I didn't see a problem with it. It's the best picture I've ever seen on the local sex offender registry. You be the judge.

Worry no more, Mrs. Combs. Your lad is a respectable young man:

That's all for now. We'll have more after this weekend's festivities.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Team Bikes - Part One

Some encouraging news today on the team equipment side of things. The first images of our team bikes came in and I'm starting get really excited about these things.

Here's some background: When we decided to start up the road team this year, we were in the market for new bikes and we knew we wanted to do something handmade and local, if possible. At the same time I heard that my friend Craig Gaulzetti was starting up his own venture - Gaulzetti Cicli. We talked and agreed that the Embrocation road team would be the ideal way to launch his new bike brand.

Craig is not a builder himself, but he is a designer with an incredible knowledge of frame materials, geometries and the requirements necessary to make bikes race-worthy. He's importing alloy tubes and stays from Dedacciai to his specifications. Once Craig completes the designs, the tubes and build sheets are sent out to Joe at Primus Mootry in Colorado where the assembly is completed. This past weekend, Joe did his magic and our first four team frames are complete. Check it out:

Team bikes are made from Dedacciai Light Alloy and feature integrated seat masts that will be topped with Deda's own adjustable seat clamp. Craig designed the bikes with very specific tube selections for specific riding characteristics: Stiff bottom brackets and front ends. Most modern carbon bikes have stiff bottom brackets but lack appropriate stiffness in the front end. Craig hates this as he feels it degrades the ride quality and handling, so stiff front ends it is.

Gaulzetti frrames use BB30 bottom bracket shells. BB30 is supposedly stiffer and lighter than normal cranks. Probably the best thing about BB30, though is that the cranks have a lower Q-factor and hence more heel clearance for the crankarm. Using a BB30 shell with metal bikes also provides more real estate to work with when welding. This means larger diamter downtubes and chainstays can be used in increase stiffness and overall strength.

As opposed to the bottom bracket, which is using the latest configuration, the headtube will take a standard 1 1/8" press-in headset. In the case of the team, we'll be using the Nothread headsets supplied to us by Chris King.

Joe at Primus Mootry does really nice work. These are as nice welds as you're likely to find on any aluminum bikes. You can also see here how small the seat stays are relative to the chainstays and the other tubes. This is to allow some degree of comfort in the rear end of the bike.

Our first batch of 4 team bikes ready to go to paint. These are intended for Josh, Bradshaw, Jay and me, respectively. The two smaller frames are approximately size 54cm, while Josh's bike is the largest and is about a 62cm - he's a big unit.

Here's a good view of the relatively svelte seat stays and the integrated seat masts themselves. The Deda seat cap has about 4cm of vertical adjustment once we've cut these to size ourselves. We also have the option of cutting them completely off to use standard seatposts if we so choose.

So that's our first look at the team bikes. These four are off to paint and then over to us for final assembly. Stay tuned to see how this project comes out in the end.